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    Creating a New Community Commons: The OFJCC Pavilion & Park Project

    With the help of generous gifts from our community, we are finally on our way to completing the original plan for the beautiful Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, and adding to Palo Alto a beautiful new environment for gathering, connecting and creating community.

    Below, you will find announcements and updates, answers to questions, and drawings of what the project will look like once complete.


     

    View of the Park from the Fire Pit OFJCC Firepit

    Project Update: Wednesday, September 20

    Here comes the crane!

    This week marks an exciting new chapter of construction. A huge crane now hovers over the OFJCC, lifting huge steel girders to the campus level. The steel girders are defining the outlines of our future two story Pavilion building.

    This fast-moving activity has excited our Leslie Family Preschool children who get to watch a real live construction project up close from behind the safety of our fences. And our Fitness Members get a front row seat to all the action from their cardio machine perches on the second floor.

    An interesting element of the Pavilion & Park construction is the order in which things are happening. All the heavy materials needed for the Pavilion building must be brought up onto the campus level before we construct the new field. That’s because once the field level is built, there’s no easy way to get heavy materials and machinery onto the campus level. There’s a ton of logistics and advance planning required for this infill project to complete original master campus plan.

    And speaking of advance planning, while the construction crew is busy working on their schedule, OFJCC staff is busy managing parking impacts to try to limit inconvenience to all of our members and guests. We’ve made more parking garage signage improvements, initiated a voluntary drop off program for the preschool and we are adjusting many program schedules to reduce peak parking periods. We continue to welcome your ideas as well.

    Staff is also busy planning the look of our future Pavilion & Park. We’re choosing and locating landscaping and seating for the outdoor spaces and picking paint colors and finishes for the new Pavilion Building. We want this new corner of our Taube Koret Campus to be absolutely beautiful, green and welcoming… and wholly worth the wait. We’re still on schedule for completion by the end of next summer.

    Thank you for your patience and please send any questions our way at [email protected]

    Project Update: Thursday, August 10

    After a seemingly quiet start, while we were surveying and preparing the ground, the construction site is now buzzing with activity, noise and trucks.


    The layout and underground utilities for the new Pavilion & Park platform have been installed and tons of building materials will soon be loaded onsite for the foundation of the future Pavilion.

    Meanwhile, thanks to your suggestions, feedback and patience, we are making headway on reducing the parking stress some of you have experienced:
    • Additional ADA accessible parking spaces
    • Re-striping the parking lot to create safer walking paths and clearer directions
    • Creating an offsite parking map for those who prefer to park on nearby streets (but please not in our neighbors’ lots)
    • All employees are parking offsite at business lots we have leased for staff use
    • Program schedules are being adjusted as needed to reduce peak arrival times
    • As noted, please allow a little extra time if you are going to classes and programs during peak times
    • For our members with flexible schedules, you'll have no challenge in the garage between 11:00 AM–5:00 PM.


    Just for Fun: We invite you to meet Hoopoe, our drone. Hoopoe is the national bird of Israel and so we thought it was the perfect name for our drone camera that's capturing construction site images and activities. Follow Hoopoe on Twitter at @hoopoedrone.

    Please keep your comments and suggestions coming to [email protected]. We read every single one!


    Project Update: Wednesday, July 19

    Construction Update

    Where is all the construction equipment? We’ve been getting that question a lot this week, as the open air lot behind the fence appears to remain quiet. Here’s what’s actually going on:

    The first phase of the project is going to involve excavating certain spaces in the outer lot where the pillars will go to support the concrete platform on which the park will ultimately rest. Before that can begin, there is surveying work and other preparation that must happen. That preparatory work is going on now, so although the lot seems empty at times, the project is progressing. We are expecting the excavation phase to begin soon, and will let you know when that happens.

    In the meantime, thank you very much to all of you who have shared your support and excitement about the project, and to everyone who sent us email or attended a town hall meeting last week!


    Parking Update

    A quick clarification, as we’ve received some questions about the closed outdoor parking lot: the closure of the open air lot is TEMPORARY. Once the pillars and concrete platform for the park have been completed, the platform will be raised to the level of the main campus and the park will be created on top of that platform. The parking lot will then return to service. We are looking forward to re-opening the parking lot as soon as it is safe to do so, as early as possible in 2018.

    In addition to the additional self-parking spaces in the covered lots and the extended hours of valet service, we have been monitoring parking closely and have added a number of new measures. Some of these changes came in direct response to thoughtful suggestions from many of you:

    • We’ve added more handicapped-accessible spaces not far from the entrance. If you need such a space and don’t see one available when you enter the garage, please ask the parking attendant to direct you to the additional spaces.
    • We have increased the number of directional signs in the garage and made them larger and more legible.
    • A parking attendant is now positioned in the main aisle inside the garage during peak times to help direct drivers to self-parking or to the valet parking area.
    • We’ve coned off a pedestrian path near the new fencing to provide safer walking to our main entrance.
    • An elevator is available near the preschool/town square. This elevator and adjacent stairs, which are near Aisle D, may be closer to where you now park. Once you go upstairs, it’s a quick walk to the Fitness Center or other campus destinations.
    • More hours of valet and parking attendant support are being added as needed.

    We also wanted to pass along an earnest request from our neighbors: please do not park in the Altaire lot to the left of the main driveway. These are private spaces for Altaire homeowners, and cars parked in that garage that do not belong to Altaire guests may be towed. We appreciate your help in respecting Altaire homeowners’ property and being good neighbors.

    We know that the temporary loss of the outdoor lot has made parking more challenging, particularly during busy times, and we regret any inconvenience you have experienced so far. We are keenly aware that continuing to improve the parking situation is the most important contribution we can make to maintaining our members’ and guests’ experience during the construction project, and we deeply appreciate your understanding and patience as we figure out what works best. Please keep your suggestions coming as we learn together how to navigate the construction activity over the coming months. Email comments and questions to: [email protected].
     

    Project Update: Creating Our New Community Commons

    When our beautiful Taube Koret Campus opened in fall 2009, it wasn't actually finished. Our master campus plan included a Town Square and an open, versatile green space and multipurpose activity building. However, due to lack of funds, these facilities were not completed at the time. Instead, a chain link fence was installed at the southeast corner of the campus, demarcating the unbuilt area above the uncovered parking lot.

    Now, after eight years and thanks to generous gifts from our community, we can finally complete the campus as originally approved by the City of Palo Alto. It will provide Palo Alto with a beautiful new environment for gathering, connecting and creating community. We are calling this new commons area the OFJCC Pavilion and Park.

    Construction will begin in July and the project will take about one year to complete. We have already made alternative plans to accommodate parking, and expect the construction to have minimal impact on the community. When it's done, we will have a lush turf field with new landscaping and trees, a welcoming fire pit area, and a beautiful, multipurpose activity building.

    However, what we are most excited to tell you today is just how transformative our new community commons will be for Palo Alto. Here are a few ideas of what this project will make possible:
     

    Pavilion

    • Community meetings
    • Arts and activity classes
    • Dances and social events
    • Rentals for special life cycle events and private meetings
    • Conferences and speakers

    Park

    • Youth sports and games
    • Community film nights
    • Festivals celebrating holidays, food, culture and technology
    • Fairs ranging from book events to college and job fairs
    • Picnic grounds and play areas
    • Fire pit for storytelling or intimate gatherings
    • Outdoor running track and exercise course
       

    These are just a few of the opportunities our new OFJCC Pavilion and Park will create. We also invite your ideas for making our future community commons an enriching and lively gathering place.

    We will regularly share project updates here on our website at www.paloaltojcc.org/campusupdates. We've also created a dedicated email address for your questions: [email protected].
     

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